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Anza-Borrego State Park - Off the hook and off the trails


Last updated 6/18/2016 at 8:18am

The decision makers in Sacramento have been inundated with letters of opposition, as the uproar surrounding the proposed rule change to enjoying Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, landed squarely at their feet.

The park is made up of popular hiking areas including Little Blair Valley, Sheep Canyon, Indian Canyon, rock-climbing in Culp Valley, Box Canyon, and Smuggler Canyon, to name a few of the trails that make up some of the areas that could have been affected by the proposed rule change.

“We understand there can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ regulation when operating such diverse parks throughout the state,” said Alexandra Stehl, the roads and trails manager for the state agency. “That’s why the standard department practice is to delegate to the local districts. They will decide how to best implement the regulation depending on their current management practices and resource preservation needs.”

Local park officials have stated that managers of individual state parks will be allowed to decide how to implement the new rules, meaning off-trail access in eight cultural preserves within Anza-Borrego park will remain open to the public. “In this district we don’t have any desire to create more restrictions,” said Kathy Dice, superintendent of Anza-Borrego. “We want people to come and explore their park and to learn to appreciate what their natural resources are. We certainly don’t want to be more restrictive if we don’t have to be.”

Dice said the clarification from Sacramento is a pleasant change from what was being said until just recently but still encourages people to attend the Wednesday meeting to reiterate why the proposed changes aren’t needed in Anza-Borrego and to try to get more precise language inserted in the new regulations, as the eight cultural preserves are already covered by a management plan that works. She said culturally sensitive items haven’t been disturbed and if such problems were to come up, the tools are already in place to deal with them.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a hearing room at the San Diego County Operations Center, 5520 Overland Ave., San Diego. It will end by 8 p.m., Stehl said.

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